Effects of the El Nino southern oscillation on Turbo torquatus (Gastropoda) and their kelp habitat

Ettinger-Epstein, Piers, and Kingsford, Michael J. (2008) Effects of the El Nino southern oscillation on Turbo torquatus (Gastropoda) and their kelp habitat. Austral Ecology, 33 (5). pp. 594-606.

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Abstract

Turbo torquatus (hereafter Turbo) were abundant and patchily distributed, especially in algal dominated habitats in shallow water (less then 10 metres) on rocky reefs in central New South Wales, Australia. Although the assemblage of algae was similar in barrens with and without crevices, Turbo were most abundant in crevices, suggesting that shelter was important. Experimental removal of the kelp canopy resulted in a great decrease in the number of Turbo. This was despite cleared patches containing more filamentous food algae, further highlighting the importance of shelter. The density of Turbo in kelp forests ranged from six to seven per square metre in times of abundance and less then one per square metre at other times over a 12-year period. Variation in the resource base (i.e. food algae and kelp cover) was strongly linked to the abundance of Turbo. Abundance of Turbo was lowest when the density of adult kelp was low (less than 14 plants per square metre). The condition of kelp was severely affected during the 1997–1998 and 2002 El Niño events and was compromised 2–4 years after each event. These pulse events and related loss of shelter probably contributed to a decline in abundance of Turbo. This model was further supported when Turbo abundance increased with a subsequent increase in the density of kelp.

Item ID: 5838
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: marine sciences; OIRS; AFDC; AAC; ENSO; gastropod; kelp; temperate reefs; Turbo torquatus
ISSN: 1442-9993
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2009 04:40
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 3
Downloads: Total: 2
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